The resignation of Abu Mazen delivered a blow to the U.S. and Israel. The Israeli government has reacted furiously, deciding "in principle" to expel Arafat from Palestine. This threat last night brought thousands of Palestinians onto the streets to rally to his defence. The decision of the Israeli government could achieve the opposite effect to that desired, provoking an escalating spiral of bitter confrontation. Yossi Schwartz in Israel analyses the situation.

Only a few days ago the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon seemed to believe that his dream of removing, or even killing, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was going to become true within just a few days. But the US has stopped the Israeli government, for now. A forced removal of Arafat would cause a great destabilization of the region, a thing that US imperialism cannot accept.

Yesterday the Histadrut trade union federation in Israel formally announced a labour dispute in Israel's public sector. At the end of a 15-day "cooling off" period, some 700,000 workers will be legally entitled to take strike action. Our correspondent in Israel analyses the situation and interviews Binyamin Gonen, a longstanding member of the Political Committee of the Communist Party of Israel and is political front DFPE-Hadash. Gonen was for many years also a member of the leadership of the party's faction in the Histadrut.

Last week twenty seven Israeli pilots signed a public declaration in which they announced their refusal to participate in missions of "targeted killings" and assassinations in the West Bank and Gaza strip. The government and the ruling class are in panic. The letter of the pilots has undermined the legitimacy of the war crimes committed by the Zionists in the Occupied Territories.

Once again Sharon and Co have provoked the working class in Israel with further dismissals of workers in the public sector in an open violation of the agreement that was reached last May. On Monday, some 50,000 civil servants launched an open-ended work-to-rule. Additionally, hospital workers are preparing to join the strike after Yom Kippur.

The recent suicide bombing in Haifa which killed 19 people and wounded 45 has been used by the Sharon government as an excuse to hit Syria with an air strike. In spite of the fact that Syria closed Hamas and Jihad bases in an attempt to appease US imperialism, the Israeli government has carried out this provocative attack. Obviously Sharon has his own agenda. Yossi Schwartz in Israel analyses what this new development implies and offers a socialist perspective and solution to the conflict.

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